Cockbain still eager to help out at Formby
IAN COCKBAIN’S four-year adventure at Formby ended last month when the veteran skipper finally retired from cricket nearly a decade after stepping down from the same role at Firwood Bootle CC.
But the captain who won trophies by the truckload at Wadham Road and then led Formby to their highest-ever position in the Liverpool Gin Liverpool & District Cricket Competition will still be involved at Cricket Path next season when he will help the new skipper whenever he can. Moreover, he looks back on his four Indian summers at Formby with the greatest pleasure.
“It was a joint effort between Charlie Mills and myself with Charlie as president and myself as captain,” he said.
“When we took over we were heading for the third tier of local cricket, although we got an immediate reprieve that winter when we weren’t relegated.
“We won the First Division the next season, cemented our place the following summer and then last year finished as runners-up in the Premier League, which was the club’s highest placing in its 151-year history.
“We also won the Ray Digman Trophy, which was the first trophy the club had ever won.”
But the season just ended saw Formby involved in a relegation fight with Ainsdale and Southport & Birkdale and Cockbain’s team only secured its place among the élite with an eight-wicket victory over Rainhill on the final Saturday of the league programme.
“This year we’ve had a very youthful side out and we’ve been under-strength on occasions,” he said.
“That’s not been ideal but next year we’ll have a younger captain and we’ll bring some young recruits in.
“I think I know who the next skipper is going to be but he has to be voted in by the players so it wouldn’t be fair to disclose his name at the moment.
“I won’t be involved on match days next summer but I’ll be there in the background. I’ll go to selection for the new skipper and help him out with recruitment and fundraising.
“We don’t have a great deal of money at Formby but we did get sponsorship for some of the Lancashire players we got in to help us this season while the younger players were learning the ropes.”
As for his own retirement, Cockbain recognises that it is the right time to step down albeit that he is taking some wonderful memories with him.
He said: “If you’re going to run a cricket team you have to throw your hat in the ring and do it full time. I wasn’t doing it justice and it’s now time to move on.
“I’m busy at work, I’ve got family to look after and I wasn’t giving it my best shot. I couldn’t get to training, I couldn’t play some of the cup games, I had a couple of business trips and I was away on holiday a couple of times.
“I’m 60 next birthday but it’s been great and I’ve really enjoyed it. I suppose it’s just a case of growing up – eventually!”
Veteran star Ian Cockbain has retired from playing cricket but still hopes to help out at Formby Cricket club next year.